April 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM
WESTFIELD, NJ — Parents are once again raising questions about Westfield High School Principal Peter Renwick’s behavior at the school’s literary magazine’s coffeehouse performance in November after an edited video of that event surfaced on YouTube Friday. To watch it, click here.
“I saw your article about WHS Principal Peter Renwick's response to allegations of bizarre behavior and I accepted his account at the time,” a reader wrote to The Alternative Press (TAP) Saturday. To read the article referred to, click here.
“But this weekend my daughter showed me a portion of the recording of the event and it was anything but a comedy routine gone wrong! After hearing Mr. Renwick yell at the same two students to shut up over and over and admonishing the entire audience to stop laughing, what are we to make of his behavior? He hit a student with a microphone and wrapped a cable around another's head.
“You can hear the fear and nervous laughter off camera. Surely Superintendent Dolan and Barbara Ball haven't seen this material because if they had there is no way Mr. Renwick would have been welcome back to lead our high school.”
Attached to the reader’s email was a photo of what appears to be Renwick wrapping the microphone cord around a boy’s head and two screenshots of Facebook conversations about that evening.
In one Facebook conversation, students wrote: “we should have a support group…” “RIP Peter Renwick’s sanity.” “I don’t feel the same anymore.”
In another, under the description of Folio Coffee House on its Facebook event page, a student writes, “Coffee House is many things, but it is not that. I’m not even sure what i’d call what happened in caf b tonight.”
Below, someone summarizes: “1) Renwick takes the stage. 2) Yelling and cursing, pg-13 cursing, scary jokes, [student’s name omitted by TAP] running on all fours. 3) 30 minutes pass. Renwick leaves the stage.”
Another adds: “21/2) Renwick harasses some kid …”
As reported in our earlier story, in a letter emailed to TAP as well as parents and faculty in December, Renwick wrote, “… you should know that a recent public comment about me at an evening Folio Coffeehouse was puzzling. While I did perform at Folio, I had no intention but to entertain our students. Trust me when I tell you that I realize my future is not in comedy and my performances at Folio will be more reserved in the future.”
Renwick’s letter did not refer to the WHS gymnastics event that took place the same night where, according to one parent, he had seemed rambling and incoherent and repeatedly strayed off-topic.